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Major repairs needed for Anna Maria City Pier

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ANNA MARIA, Fla. -- A structure that has been around since 1911 in the city of Anna Maria is in need of a major facelift. The Anna Maria City Pier will have to be repaired in order to keep it from collapsing.

"You could feel the pier rocking a little bit in the wind," said Ed Wilson, who's visiting from Canada.

Usually one of Wilson's first stops in Anna Maria is at City Pier. Divers and engineers who checked the pier from bottom to top say if the pier is not repaired or rebuilt, it could be gone within five years.

"If something needs to be done, I think it should be done," said Wilson. "It draws a lot of people to it and to this end of the island."

Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy says if the pier is repaired, it would cost around $1.5 million and extend the life of the pier 25 years. If it were to be rebuilt, cost could run up to $3 million, extending the life of the pier up to 75 years. The mayor has yet to disclose where the money would come from to pay for this.

"Repairs seems to be the right way to go... it seems to be the approach we're going to take," said Murphy. "It's now a matter of meeting with the engineers, sitting down with the engineers who performed this study and develop a work plan."

Once work gets underway, the mayor says the pier would be closed for about six months. City officials say the pier is currently safe to walk on, fish and enjoy its restaurant. Joseph Moerder from Pennsylvania is someone who enjoys fishing off the pier.

"The pier to me is everything," said Moerder. "I mean it's Florida, it's coming home, you know fishing, it's part of my life, so I'll do everything I can to see the pier stay."

Next up is a meeting on Friday between the mayor, commissioners and engineers.